Jamaica Dining Paintings
How are you? Nm.
By Maria Kalinina
All through the ages the artist’s optics assumed a wide variety of stances. In the turbulent 20th Century the artist could transform into a flaneur, a consumer, even into a poète maudit. However it is after ‘the End of History’ that the point of view all of us have started to adopt with regularity was that of a tourist. There are no more uncharted areas left under the sky. The global culture opens up routes to any and all parts of the world, from Newfoundland to Kargopol. In his new series of paintings ‘Jamaica Dining’ Bliumis, an artist who has long been concerned with exploring the subject of migration, examines the shifting perspective of a tourist.
In his paintings Bliumis trains his gaze on the double nature of modern day travel. A white bourgeois savoring the ethnographic exoticism unfolds just like the Rafflesia plant in the jungle. However his comfort zone is taken care of by the native who is unable to afford the similar journey. Bliumis extricates himself from the context of tourism to better perceive the vicious legacy of the era of colonialism in the tourism industry. Social and economic inequality of the nations of the Global South is transformed into ethno-cultural commodity. Bliumis documents the alienation of the island’s own visuality where the inhabitants of tourist destinations are forced to turn their culture into goods for the global market.
But apart from their keenly relevant social subtext, the pieces that comprise the project ‘Jamaica Dining’ reveal the profoundly private and intimate world of their subjects. The relatively small paintings capture the fleeting scenes in the hotel lobby, by the bar counter, etc. Inheriting the legacy of modernism, Bliumis deploys his stroke to ‘sculpt’ the psychological dramas of the everyday life. The enchanting colors of Jamaica make you believe in the happy ending of this social drama.